A&T runs past Spartans 34-14

NORFOLK, Va. – On Oct. 4, N.C. A&T used a tough defense to force Norfolk State into three turnovers en route to the 34-14 victory in the 56th annual Fish Bowl Classic.

Spartans quarterback Willie Mitchell threw an interception to defensive back Charles Harper on the first drive of the game, signaling things to come.

A&T’s offense drove down the short field, setting up a one-yard touchdown run by running back Carl Scriven to lead 7-0 with 9:52 left in the first quarter.

“It feels great,” said Scriven, who earned Most Valuable Player of the game, scoring four touchdowns. “We worked hard through the week. Defense did a great job tonight.”

Norfolk State (1-4, 0-2 MEAC) fullback Martin Southerland fumbled and the Aggies (4-1, 1-0) recovered deep into Spartans territory on the next possession.

A&T capped it off with another one-yard touchdown by Scriven to lead 14-0 in the beginning of the second quarter.

Late in the second quarter, Mitchell threw his second interception to linebacker Herbert Dixon.

That set up a six-yard reverse by wide receiver Jamal Jones to take a 21-0 halftime lead.

The Aggie defense shut down Norfolk State by only allowing 49 total yards on offense in the first half.

The Spartans, whose offense struggled thoroughly, benched Mitchell and put in junior quarterback Dontrell Leonard at the start of the second half.

Spartans running back Terrell Johnson scored on a 33-yard run to get Norfolk State on the scoreboard midway through the third quarter.

After A&T star Curtis Deloatch made a critical mistake on a kickoff return, Norfolk State wide receiver Howard Gilmore caught a 52-yard reception, setting up a 3-yard touchdown reception to cut A&T’s lead to 21-14 late in the third quarter.

“We were still in this game,” said Spartan linebacker Kevin Talley, who led the game with 25 tackles and also leads the nation in tackles. “He (Head Coach Willie Gillus) told us to keep our heads in and focus and we could win this game.”

A&T finally settled down and went on an 18-play, 68-yard drive which took up eight minutes and 26 seconds. Scriven finished the drive with a two-yard touchdown run, putting A&T ahead 28-14.

“He (A&T head coach George Small) was like you have to get your head in the game,” said wide receiver Brandon Trusty. “After he said it a couple of times and finally settled in, we started to do our thing again.”

The Aggies will travel to Baltimore to face Morgan State on Oct. 11, a team which humiliated them 30-13 on Homecoming last season.

  • Gregory Bond